US sues to block $4.3bn foreclosure deal between Assa Abloy and US rival

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department has filed a lawsuit to block a proposed $4.3 billion deal by Assa Abloy AB to buy a division of Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc that makes residential door hardware, the department said in a statement Thursday. could result in higher prices for consumers.

The department said a merger of Assa Abloy and Spectrum’s Hardware and Home Improvement division could mean higher prices and reduced innovation for homeowners looking to buy high-end mechanical door hardware or smart locks. .

Sweden’s Assa Abloy manufactures the Yale, August and EMTEK brands, while Spectrum’s division manufactures the Baldwin and Kwikset brands.

“Competition between these two companies, which are two of the top three companies in an already concentrated industry, has benefited American consumers in the form of lower prices and better quality,” Assistant Attorney General Jonathan said. Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division in a statement.

The ministry said the deal, if completed, would give Assa Abloy a virtual monopoly in high-end mechanical door hardware and more than half of the rapidly growing smart lock market.

The companies said in a statement that they “strongly disagree with the Justice Department’s proposed characterization of the transaction and will vigorously contest” the government’s lawsuit to end the deal, which has was announced in September 2021.

The deal is one of a growing number of deals that have been the subject of a legal challenge by the Justice Department, whose executives have argued antitrust laws were underenforced. The ministry pursued acquisitions in books, insurance, sugar production and the defense industry.

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Paul Grant and Nick Zieminski)

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